Jewish Journal

This week from Israel

by Noga Gur-Arieh

October 8, 2012 | 10:30 am

Israeli achievement at the Computer Olympics: students from 81 countries worldwide competed in Italy on various computer-related tasks such as solving complex algorithms. The level of problems the contestants solved was higher than what grad-school computer students are facing in class. The Israeli team was ranked 19, and won a total of two silver medals and one bronze medal. The US team, if you were wondering, came in first.

Apple's flunk turns to Waze's success: Waze is an Israel start up combining GPS system with a social network. Waze's users contribute map data, and report traffic incidents, delays, police ambushes, etc. ,which can help other users find alternative routes or directions and get to their destination as soon as possible. This Israeli program initially operated only in Israel, but slowly started to grow and expand. In perfect timing, Apple's new "Maps" feature for IPhone brought frustration upon millions of users, due to bugs and errors. This lead Apple CEO Tim Cook to recommend Apple users to use competing software such as the Waze, while the issues are being fixed. This recommendation came in just in time for Waze's founders, and gave the Israeli mapping application a huge boost.
After the Red Hot Chili Peppers rocked Israel last month, we received some more great news: Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morisette will land here in December for a single performance, as a part of her "Guardian Angel" international tour. It's always great news when an international performer considers Israel in a tour, and when the performer is Alanis Morisette, the news  is even greater!

* The Barcelona soccer team has recently invited former captive IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit, to attend the October 7th match against Real Madrid. This lead Hamas calling for a media boycott of the soccer club, and caused quite the shenanigans. In response, the team has invited three Palestinians to also attend the match:  soccer player Mahmoud Al Sarsak, who was held in an Israeli jail for three years until being released this year following a hunger strike, along with the president of the Palestinian Football Union Jibril Rajoub and the Palestinian Authority ambassador to Spain.


* The day of the recruitment to the IDF is usually far from making anyone dance. It is long and tiring, and on top of it all-it's the day you say goodbye to your free will for two to three years. That is why everyone in the recruitment center was surprised when Ran Bronstein, on his first day as a soldier, started to dance. 24 year-old Bronstein, who made Alyiah from the States in 2007 to join the IDF, took a camera with him to the first day, and captured every moment of his process of becoming a soldier. Since he couldn't hold his excitement of finally serving his country, he started to dance in front of the camera and didn't stop until the finalization of the recruitment chain. The five minute long video clip was approved by the IDF spokesperson only recently, and Bronstein uploaded it on YouTube. It's been online for about two weeks now, and has already become a hit, showing  everyone that recruitment can also be a positive, fun experience.


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My name is Noga Gur-Arieh, and I’m an Israeli Journalist, currently studying for my B.A degree in Media and Political Science, at Tel Aviv University.

I am very socially...

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